Sunday, October 3, 2010
Wing Commander reboot, part 15
The Way of Sivar
For the Kilrathi, the downturn in the war was not just about new weapons and Terran tactics. Many of the Kilrathi priests, at least those of Imperial or Eight Prides, believed that their own people’s lack of dedication, and the anger of Sivar. In order to appease their War God, the High Priests have decided that another sacrifice was in order. The Emperor forbad the sacrificing of any world still under Kilrathi domination, not wanting to waste the useful population. With the bulk of Confed forces in the central and coreward regions of the Sector, the High Priests chose the Tamayo System to be its sacrificial altar, and Tamayo II to be its victim.
The Kilrathi built up a strike fleet around three carriers, five cruisers and twelve destroyers. Following behind them would be every available Kilrathi soldier in the sector. To appease Sivar, they must slaughter the inhabitants of the planet. Normally, such ceremonies would be performed on the homeworld of the Kilrathi’s victims, but the Kilrathi were still a long ways from Earth. The Way of Sivar will allow each Kilrathi warrior to show his own dedication to Sivar. However, there was a flaw in the ceremony, one that Confed learned from refugee Prides. Pride females never take part in such events, for they kill only in defense. However, those who were persecuted by the stronger Prides reveal that to be killed during the Way of Sivar was a grievous dishonor of the warrior in the eyes of Sivar, and if attacked during the ceremony, it was one of the few times a Kilrathi would willingly run from a fight. At least that way, they would have a chance to redeem themselves.
Confed hoped to do more than turn away this attack on Tamayo. They were also aware of the number of transports headed into the system, and Kilrathi were far easier to kill in space than on the ground. Waiting for the Kilrathi to enter the system, a Confed fleet in orbit of Tamayo I consisted of the carriers Kipling and Finback, seven cruisers and the newest of the four (now three remaining) arsenal ships, the TCS Last Judgement. The arsenal ship would remain behind while the Kilrathi fleet was dispatched. Only after would it be allowed to unleash its full firepower on the flotilla of Kilrathi soldiers.
Given the orbital alignment at the time, the Confed fleet came out from around Tamayo, obscured by the star’s radiation. When they reached Tamayo II, the Kilrathi were in the process of landing. It was the perfect time to strike, since the warships could not simply flee. However, due to their religious ceremony, the Kilrathi were overly cautious and did not fight even half as hard as normally. The two Confed carriers were more than a match for the three Snakiers. The Kilrathi put up only token resistance before ships began to retreat on their own. Discipline broke down and the Kilrathi began to behave individualistically. This allowed for seven of their Ralathas to be destroyed and a Fralthi badly mauled.
Dozens of transports were destroyed in the atmosphere, and more on the ground. For the first time in the war, Kilrathi soldiers willingly surrendered, rather than be killed on such a holy event. Confederation Army units took captives, but the planetary militia did not. Knowing the Kilrathi were on their way to kill everybody on the planet, the militia showed no quarter and killed all Kilrathi they came across. Those that surrendered to Confed were immediately shipped off-world.
On the other side of the Sector, Confed pushed into the Planck’s Star System. The system was strategically vital for an operation planned for 2649, and securing the space was of utmost importance. Taking planets was only secondary. With a majority of both side’s navies engaged in a sort of trench warfare in the space of the Munro System, the invasion of Planck’s Star was another small operation. Leading the strike force were the strike carriers Bengal and Eagle’s Talon and battleship Ho Chi Minh. The Kilrathi resisted with a cruiser strike force, built around one of the new Fralthras.
The space battle was short, and cost the Kilrathi much of their fighter cover. However, Confed failed to destroy a single Kilrathi warship, and they were able to retreat, damaged, but still functional. The ease of which the Kilrathi yielded the battlefield made the Confed commander nervous and paranoid. An assault on Planck Station, the Kilrathi headquarters for the system, proved to be far harder than the fleet engagement. Once the station was boarded, ten thousand Marines battled five thousand Kilrathi for control over it. The battle for the station lasted over a month, with nearly all the Kilrathi soldiers dead, and two thousand Terrans as well. Though the Kilrathi could not destroy the base, for its reactor was under Confed control on the first day, they did fry its computers and destroy all information that might have been useful. Thus, with 20% losses and a month’s worth of fighting, Confed was left with a disabled star base.
Planck Station took a full six months to repair and put back into operation. By November of the year, Marines were sortieing to the worlds of Planck’s Star, fighting to dislodge the Kilrathi. During the time of repair, the Kilrathi Navy returned on three separate occasions, and failed to achieve a victory of any kind, much less a decisive one. The Bengal was damaged during one attack, and two old Belgrade-class cruisers were destroyed during the second attack, at a cost of two Kilrathi cruisers. Not a fair trade when considering the age of the Confed ships destroyed. By the end of the year, all the jump points were heavily mined, and fortresses were in place to prevent the Kilrathi from taking back the planet with anything less than a fleet action.
With new Kilrathi cruisers in place and packing the firepower of a battleship, Confed initiated its own cruiser building program. The Ceres-class cruisers would not be as powerful as a battleship, but would have the same strength of shields as a pre-war battleship. These strike cruisers were designed to ride shotgun with the strike cruisers into enemy territory. They would also have hanger space enough for a full squadron of fighters. With these new ships coming on line, the old Belgrades would be pulled off frontline duty and placed in convoy and patrol roles.
VOC in the Vega Sector
The VOC (United East India Company) played its own role in the war effort. Aside from being the largest supplier of hydrogen, and the scoop ships that bring it out of gas giants, the VOC also armed its ships. Freighters had sufficient firepower to turn back Kilrathi fighters, while the VOC’s private frigates served as escorts for the company’s own shipping, as well as its competition. This escort service freed up TCN ships for the front line. The VOC, a three thousand year old shipping company also transported tens of thousands of Marines and soldiers to battlefields across the Vega Sector. Aside from this, they also operated shipyards and repair docks across the Enigma and Sol Sector. Vega Sector was not their normal zone of operations, however high demands of the war brought them into the sector, including the construction of a new repair and construction facility in the Vega System itself. VOC Yards turned out new transports faster than the Kilrathi could destroy them.